A 60-year-old British Sikh man has been cleared of the charges of stabbing a drinker with his kirpan on the streets of northeast London.
Bagicha Singh was accused of attacking compatriot Pritpal Singh, 30, repeatedly with his ceremonial dagger during an altercation near Ilford.
The Snaresbrook Crown Court jury found Bagicha not guilty of one count of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and another of committing unlawful and malicious wounding this week.
Speaking to the 'Ilford Recorder' through his solicitor and translator Vinod Sharma, Bagicha said: "I felt overwhelmed and relieved. It is going to take some time for me to come to terms with the whole thing. I feel this should never have been brought against me when I was a victim." The court heard how Pritpal had been drinking with friends in South Park and allegedly attacked Bagicha when he came across him walking alone.
The prosecution had argued that Bagicha began stabbing Pritpal repeatedly. But the older man said he had unsheathed his kirpan only in self-defence.
Bagicha said: "He was hitting me on my face and everywhere and trying to snatch my kirpan. I thought he was going to kill me; if he had got hold of the kirpan he would have killed me." Bagicha, whose wife Jasvir Kaur, son Sukhjit and daughter Sharandeep live in India, told his local newspaper: "I feel scared walking in the street now in case I am attacked. But I am grateful to those who supported me and I thank God that in the end justice prevailed."